Social Work

Rob Veneziano, Chair
White Hall 101, Midtown campus
(203) 837-8678
(203) 837-8945 (fax)

Department Secretary
White Hall 101, Midtown campus
(203) 837-8410
(203) 837-8945 (fax)


R. Veneziano, Chair K. Hinga (Field Coordinator) P. Ivry
M. Steinberg    

Adjunct Faculty

A. Berardi B. Boriss A. Goelitz
M. Harrington C. Huntington E. Millner
P. Ross, Professor Emeritus S. Shaughnessy M. Strauss
D. Torres    


The Department of Social Work provides a generalist baccalaureate social work education which meets or exceeds the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Standards of Accreditation and whose curriculum is in keeping with CSWE’s educational policy and standards. The degree awarded by Western Connecticut State University is a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work, recognized nationally as a BSW (bachelor degree in social work, accredited).

Graduates may be eligible for advanced standing in graduate schools for a master’s degree in social work, student membership in the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), and nomination to Phi Alpha Honor Society.


The Department of Social Work prepares students to become generalist entry-level social workers with the knowledge and skills to provide services that promote and strengthen the well-being of individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities, and are consistent with the values and ethics of the profession. The department draws from and builds on a strong liberal arts education foundation, in keeping with the mission of the university. The department serves as an accessible, responsive, and creative intellectual resource to the university and regional communities.


Goal 1: To prepare students for entry level generalist social work practice.

Goal 2: To provide a social work curriculum which incorporates a liberal arts perspective and which imparts the values, knowledge, and skills of the profession.

Goal 3: To educate students to work effectively with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.

Goal 4: To prepare students to become leaders in the development, provision, and evaluation of social services.

Goal 5: To be an accessible professional resource in dynamic relationship with the infrastructures of the university and the region.

Program Objectives

Graduates of Western Connecticut State University’s Department of Social Work will be able to:

Objective 1: Apply to professional practice the content learned in a coherent and integrated
baccalaureate social work curriculum, which is based on a liberal arts perspective, relevant
conceptual frameworks, and social work theories.

Objective 2: Apply critical thinking skills within the context of social work practice.

Objective 3: Understand personal, professional, organizational and client system values and
practice in a manner consistent with the NASW Code of Ethics.

Objective 4: Apply values, knowledge, and skills of generalist social work to practice in diverse and changing settings with client systems of varied sizes and types.

Objective 5: Use communication skills differentially across client populations, colleagues, and

Objective 6: Work effectively within organizations and seek necessary organizational change.

Objective 7: Use supervision and consultation appropriate to social work practice.

Objective 8: Use theoretical frameworks supported by empirical evidence to understand individual development and behavior across the life span and the interactions among individuals and between individuals and families, groups, organizations, and communities.

Objective 9: Learn to practice without discrimination and with respect, knowledge and skills related to clients’ age, class, color, culture, disability, ethnicity, family structure, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, spirituality, sex, and sexual orientation.

Objective 10: Understand and interpret the mission and history of the social work profession.

Objective 11: Understand the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination, and apply strategies of advocacy and social change that advance social and economic justice nationally and globally.

Objective 12: Evaluate research studies, apply findings to practice and evaluate their own
practice interventions, and participate in the generation of new research.

Objective 13: Analyze, formulate, and influence social policies.

Objective 14: Appreciate the value of continuing their professional development through active
participation in professional organizations, continued studies, and other professional activities and learning opportunities.

Admission Requirements

Any student admitted to WestConn may declare social work as a major and enroll in social work 200-level courses, as long as course prerequisites are met. Social work majors must earn at least a “C” in all designated major courses to have the course credit apply to the degree program.

In order for social work majors to be admitted to junior and senior-level courses, additional academic requirements must be met (See the section,“Social Work Program Requirements”). Students must apply for junior and senior program status following a group advisement session (for potential juniors in late fall preceding the registration period for spring semester; for potential seniors in spring semester of the junior year).

Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (B.A.)


A Bachelor of Arts in Social Work is comprised of general education requirements and specific major requirements (foundation and practice courses). The required curriculum plan is:

Specified General Education Courses:

Writing Intensive Course (W)
COM 160, 161, or 162
PSY 100
A PSY 200 level (see list under sophomore year)
ANT 100
ECO 100 or 207
MAT 110 or 120
BIO 100 or BIO 132
Foreign Language Requirement

Foundation Courses:

SOC 100 Introduction to Sociology
PS 102 American Government
SW 200 Introduction of Social Work & Social Welfare Services
SW 210 Social Welfare as an Institution
SW 215 Human Behavior & Social Environment
SW 220 Cultural Diversity
SW 300 Social Work Research

Practice Courses:

SW 305 Social Work Junior Field Practicum
SW 306 Junior Seminar
SW 309 Social Work Methods I
SW 310 Social Work Methods II
SW 311 Social Work Methods III
SW 315 Community Organizing Project I
SW 316 Community Organizing Project II
SW 320 Social Work Field Practicum & Seminar
SW 321 Social Work Field Practicum & Seminar
SW 325 Senior Seminar on Policy & Issues
SW 350 Senior Integrative Seminar

The suggested course sequence is outlined below. General education requirements should be taken during the freshman year and sophomore year. Social work foundation courses should be taken in the recommended sequence. Some have specified prerequisites; please see course listings. Social work methods courses and the field components must be taken in the sequence specified.

Freshman Year

Fall Semester
PSY 100 Intro. to Psychology
SOC 100 Intro. to Sociology
Foreign Language I

Spring Semester
COM 160, 161, or 162
ANT 100 Intro. to Cultural Anthropology
Writing intensive course (W)
Foreign Language II

Sophomore Year

Fall Semester
SW 200 Intro. to Social Work & Social Welfare Services
*PSY 202 Abnormal Psychology
*PSY 205 Social Psychology
*PSY 210 Child Psychology
*PSY 211 Adolescent Psychology
*PSY 215 Psychology of Personality
*PSY 217 Psychology of Women
*PSY 219 Psychology of Men
*PSY 222 The Adult Years
*PSY 241 Child Psychopathology
BIO 100 Concepts of Biology or BIO 132 Human Biology
* Select one of the above PSY 200 level courses

Spring Semester
PS 102 American Government
ECO 100 Principles of Macroeconomics
ECO 207 Contemporary Domestic Economic Issues
SW 210 Social Welfare as an Institution
Complete university math requirement

Junior Year

Fall Semester
SW 215 Human Behavior & the Social Environment
MAT 120 Elementary Statistics
MAT 110 Great Ideas in Mathematics
SW 220 Cultural Diversity

Spring Semester
SW 300 Social Work Research
SW 305 Social Work Field Practicum
SW 306 Junior Seminar
SW 309 Social Work Methods I

SW 305, 306, and 309 must be taken concurrently. They are offered in the spring semester.

Senior Year

Fall Semester
SW 310 Social Work Methods II
SW 315 Community Organizing Project I
SW 320 Social Work Field Practicum & Seminar
SW 325 Senior Seminar on Policy and Issues

SW 310, 315, and 320 must be taken concurrently. They are offered in the fall semester.

Spring Semester
SW 311 Social Work Methods III
SW 316 Community Organizing Project II
SW 321 Social Work Field Practicum & Seminar
SW 350 Senior Integrative Seminar

SW 311, 316 and 321 must be taken concurrently. They are offered in the spring semester. SW 350 is taken in the final semester of the major.

Note: Students must provide their own transportation to field facilities during field practicums (SW 200, SW 305, SW 320, SW 321)

Social Work Program Requirements

  1. A student must have earned at least a “C” grade in courses which fulfill the 53 semester hours of major requirements and in these required general education courses: writing intensive course (W); COM 160, 161 or 162; PSY 100; PSY 202, 205, 210, 211, 215, 217, 219, 222, or 241.
  2. A student who receives a grade lower than a “C” in any one of the specified courses prior to admission to junior year standing may retake the course ONCE and seek admission, providing, in the judgment of the social work faculty, that the student meets all other criteria for admission.
  3. A student who receives a grade lower than a “C” in any one of the above specified courses prior to admission to the senior year may retake the course ONCE, and has to do so during the spring semester or summer term preceding the beginning of the fall semester of the senior year. Otherwise the student’s admission to the senior year will be deferred until the fall semester of the next academic year.
  4. Admission to Junior Year Standing:

    Completion of an application during the fall semester of junior year is required for admission to junior year standing. Criteria for acceptance are that the applicant:
    1. Be a matriculated student with a minimum overall cumulative grade point average of 2.0.
    2. Has completed all the prerequisites and required first year and sophomore year courses (SW 200, 210) without any outstanding incompletes.
    3. Will complete foundation courses concurrently with jr. methods and field courses.
    4. Has attained a minimum of a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 in the major requirements with no grade lower than a “C”.
    5. Has completed a personal interview with the Department Chair or designee.
    6. Has demonstrated continued evidence of communication skills, through the application process and in course work.
    7. Has demonstrated evidence of meeting behavioral expectations (see SW Dept. Student Handbook) and a commitment to the profession of social work.

      Note: Transfer students are required to interview with the Department Chair to arrange for meeting the above criteria.
  5. Admission to Senior Year Standing:

    Completion of an application during the spring semester of junior year is required for admission to senior year standing. Criteria for acceptance are that the applicant:
    1. Is a matriculated student with a minimum overall cumulative grade point average of 2.0.
    2. Has completed the required foundation and junior year methods and field-related courses and has no outstanding incompletes.
    3. Has attained a minimum of a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 in the major requirements, with no grade lower than a “C.”
    4. Has completed a personal interview with a Department Chair or designee.
    5. Has demonstrated continued evidence of
      communication skills, of meeting the program’s learning objectives and behavioral expectations, and shows a commitment to the social work profession (See SW Dept. Student Handbook).
  6. Students must maintain all of the above standards to continue into spring semester senior year.
  7. A student who does not receive a “C” or better in a required major course in fall semester senior year will not be permitted to begin spring semester senior year.
  8. No credit is given for life experience at any level of the program.
  9. Students must have sufficient weekday hours free (9:00 a.m. - 5 p.m.) to meet the requirements of each of the three field experiences:

    SW 200 Introduction to Social Work--30 hrs. field experience;
    SW 305 Social Work Field Practicum--104 hrs over 13 weeks (8 hrs per wk);
    SW 320-321 Social Work Field Practicum and Seminar--208 hrs each semester (16 hrs per week)
    The SW 305 and SW 320-321 field practica are on Tuesday and Thursdays.

Termination Policy

Termination from the department by the chair may occur when a student fails to maintain the academic standards of the university and department (see this catalog, “Good Standing”; WCSU Student Handbook, “Student Rights and Responsibilities”; Social Work Department Student Handbook, “Probationary Status in Department” and “Student Rights and Responsibilities”); and/or when a student in class or the field is considered inappropriate for the profession of social work, based on behavior which is not consistent with the standards of ethical conduct and professional behavior prescribed and proscribed by the NASW Code of Ethics or the stated expectations of the department (see “Student Responsibilities”). In such cases, discussions take place among the student, faculty involved, and department chair. The Chair has the authority to make final decisions. Decisions reached are communicated in writing by the chair to the student in a timely fashion. The student may appeal these decisions to the Dean of Professional Studies or employ the university process for “Student Rights and Responsibilities” (WCSU Student Handbook). Termination from the department during the concurrent Junior Methods/Field/Seminar curricula or the concurrent Senior curricula requires the student to withdraw from all SW labeled courses in that concurrent course group.

On occasion, difficulties may arise at the field placement. In these instances the field liaison works with the student and field instructor to resolve these situations. Any one of the three can ask the field coordinator and/or department chair to help resolve matters.

Every effort is made to assess the situation quickly and to establish a plan of action. In the event that the problem cannot be resolved, the field coordinator, in consultation with the field liaison, field instructor and student, will terminate the placement, with the approval of the department chair. Based upon the specifics of the situation the student may: (1) be reassigned to a different field practicum; (2) defer placement for a year or more (with explicit conditions for re-entry established by the department, then assessed at possible re-entry time); (3) be terminated by the chair of the department. Students will be informed in writing of decisions regarding their status and may appeal these decisions to the Dean of the School of Professional Studies.

The university maintains guidelines for student rights and responsibilities and judicial procedures which are clearly articulated in the WCSU Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook. The department adheres to these guidelines in all such matters and may establish additional responsibilities based upon professional training criteria.

Agencies Offering Social Work Junior and Senior Field Placements 2007-2008

A-Home, Mt. Kisco, N.Y.

Ability Beyond Disability, Brookfield, Conn.
Academy of Western Connecticut, Danbury, Conn.
AIDS Project of Greater Danbury, Danbury, Conn.
Almost Home, Danbury, Conn.
Alternative Incarceration Center, Danbury, Conn.
American Red Cross of Western CT, Danbury, Conn.
Bethel Health Care, Bethel, Conn.
C.V. Starr Intermediate School, Brewster, N.Y.

Catholic Charities, Bethel, Conn.

Catholic Family Services, Danbury, Conn.

The Children's Center, New Milford, Conn.
Community Resource Center, Danbury, Conn.
Connecticut Junior Republic, Waterbury, Conn.

Danbury Department of Elderly Services, Danbury, Conn.

Danbury Public Schools, Danbury, Conn.:
  Broadview Middle School
  Park Avenue Elementary School

  Pembrok Elementary
Danbury Regional Child Advocacy Center, Danbury, Conn.
Danbury Youth Services, Danbury, Conn.
Department of Children & Families (DCF),  State of CT., Danbury, Conn.
Department of Social Services, State of Conn., Danbury, Conn.
East Hill Woods, Southbury, Conn.

Families Network of W. CT., Inc., Danbury Conn.

Family & Children’s Aid, Danbury, Conn.
Family Resource Center, Vogel-Wetmore School, Torrington, Conn.

Family Services Woodfield, Bridgeport, Conn.

Good Friend Program, Danbury, Conn.
Green Chimneys Children’s Services, Brewster, N.Y.
Green Chimneys Community Outreach Center, Brewster, N.Y.

Headstart, Danbury, Conn.

Healing the Children, New Milford, Conn.

Housatonic Habitat for Humanity, Danbury, Conn.
Interfaith AIDS Ministry of Danbury, Danbury,

Interlude, Inc., Danbury, Conn.

Laurel Ridge Health Care, Ridgefield, Conn.

Maplewood at Danbury, Danbury, Conn.
Medical Options, Danbury, Conn.
Mental Health Association, Danbury, Conn.
Mid-Western Connecticut Council on Alcoholism (MCCA), Danbury, Conn.
New Milford Health and Rehab. Center, New Milford, Conn.

New Milford Social Services, New Milford, Conn.
New Opportunities for Waterbury, Waterbury, Conn.
Newtown High School, School-to-Career, Sandy Hook, Conn.

Newtown Youth Services, Sandy Hook, Conn.

NORD, Danbury, Conn.

NOW, Inc., Senior Nutrition Services, Danbury, Conn.
Public Defenders Office, Danbury, Conn.

Putnam Community Action Program, Brewster, N.Y.

Putnam County Youth Bureau, Coordinated Youth & Family Services Project, Carmel, N.Y.
Putnam-No. Westchester Women’s Resource Center, Mahopac, N.Y.
Regional Hospice, Healing Hearts, Danbury, Conn.

Ridgefield VNA, Ridgefield, Conn.

The Salvation Army, Danbury, Conn.

Stay Well Health Center, Waterbury, Conn.

Stepping Stone Program (NAFI), Waterbury, Conn.

Strong House Day Ctr., Madison, Conn.

The Salvation Army, Danbury, Conn.

(TBICO), Danbury, Conn.
The United Way of Northern Fairfield County, Danbury, Conn.
Visiting Angels, Brookfield, Conn.
The Volunteer Center, Danbury, Conn.
WCSU Child Care Center, Danbury, Conn.

WCSU Executive Forum, Danbury, Conn.

Waterbury Youth Services System, Inc., Waterbury, Conn.
The Women's Center of Greater Danbury, Danbury, Conn.

WeCahr, Danbury, Conn.
WERACE/Danbury Adult Education, Danbury, Conn.
Women's Resource Center of Putnam/No. Westchester, Mahopac, N.Y.

Certificate Program in Interdisciplinary Gerontological Studies

(Courses open to undergraduate students)

The Departments of Health Promotion & Exercise Sciences, Management, Nursing and Social Work are four of the university’s academic programs that sponsor the graduate level certificate program in interdisciplinary gerontological studies. Course enrollment preference will be given to individuals admitted into the GRS certificate program. However, upper level undergraduate students and other graduate students with a GPA of at least 3.0 are welcome to enroll in courses, with permission as per university policy. Undergraduate students will earn general education elective course credit towards their undergraduate degree. These credits can also be applied toward certificate program completion. Any student who wishes to enroll in an interdisciplinary gerontological studies courses must take GRS/PSY 580 as a pre/co-requisite course. See WestConn’s graduate catalog or current semester bulletin for specific GRS course offerings, certificate options, and eligibility. All GRS courses are 3 credits.

Interdisciplinary Courses

Upper level undergraduate students may register on a space-available basis upon permission of the GRS coordinator and GRS advisor. Undergraduate students must complete “Permission To Take A Graduate Course” form and file it with the Graduate Admissions Office.

GRS/PSY 580 Gerontology and Normative Aging
This course provides an overview of normative development and aging. Specific attention is focused on the demographics of aging; theories of aging; the psychological impact of retirement, disease, chronic illness, bereavement, and impending death; and the cognitive, psychological, and psychosocial changes that occur with aging.

GRS 581 Health Consideration and the Aged
GRS 582 Social Policies in Gerontology
GRS/MGT 583 Continuum of Gerontological Services
MGT 584 Long Term Care Administration
GRS 585 Physical Activity and Aging
NUR 586 Advanced Practice: Gerontology Nurse Specialist
NUR 515 Advanced Pathophysiology

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